IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 12.1.11
By Neil Borenstein
Each week here at 1wrestling.com, I will select three of the top wrestlers from TNA’s IMPACT Wrestling and present them to you in inverse order as the show’s Wrestlers of the Week. In choosing the show’s top three superstars, performances from that week’s IMPACT Wrestling and any relevant preceding programming – such as Pay-Per-Views – will be taken into consideration.
IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week for December 1, 2011
3. Bobby Roode – for getting past AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy in three-way main event action with some outside assistance:
Last week’s Thanksgiving edition of IMPACT Wrestling was highlighted with an eight-man tag team elimination main event that saw AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy rally at the end to pick up a victory over several members of Immortal. Unfortunately for Styles and Hardy, their celebration came to a screeching halt when TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode (who had previously been eliminated from the matchup) re-emerged on the scene to drill both of them with the belt. And the show ended with Roode taunting a laid out Styles, whom he will be facing at Final Resolution in a 30-minute Iron Man Match for the championship.
Sting called Roode to the ring at the beginning of this week’s program and let the champ know he wasn’t thrilled with his actions a week ago. Roode was quite proud of himself and felt it was great television. Sting wasn’t buying that and reminded Roode that it was his way or the highway. He then told Roode that for every bad choice he makes, a consequence will follow. The first of those consequences came in the form of Sting booking Roode in a three-way main event matchup against both Styles and Hardy.
Despite their competitive nature, Styles and Hardy shared a common enemy in this one and really focused on working together to try and gain some semblance of redemption over the man that blasted them with the gold last Thursday night. They did a terrific job of remaining on the same page for the first few minutes and dished out a good deal of punishment to Roode.
However, Roode was eventually able to turn the match into a series of one-on-one situations, which even included a few moments of action between Styles and Hardy. That all helped Roode stay in the match and buy some time until he could gain a little assistance that would help him even the deck.
That came courtesy of some outside interference from Jeff Jarrett. Roode hit a fisherman’s suplex into the cover on Styles and got a two-count before Hardy broke it. Hardy hit a leg drop to the groin of Roode before following up with a basement dropkick and running closeline. Hardy continued on the attack with a sitout forward suplex and then a Twist of Fate. But as he headed up top to try and finish off the champ with a Swanton Bomb, Jarrett made his way through the crowd and tripped up Hardy. Hardy fell to the mat and Roode covered up, getting the three-count just before Styles could move in for the save.
Jarrett paid for his involvement in this match by getting booked in a match by Sting for Final Resolution, where Double J will face off against Hardy in a Steel Cage Match. But for Roode, Jarrett’s help enabled him to put another “W” on his record and continue to challenge Sting’s authority by once against utilizing questionable measures to get a victory.
2. Mickie James – for beating ODB in a Street Fight to keep her shot at the TNA Knockouts Championship:
Gail Kim is the new shiny object in the Knockouts Division, and she has enjoyed immediate success since returning the organization. As the possessor of both the Knockouts Championship and one-half of the Knockouts Tag Team Titles, Kim has benefited greatly from her allegiance with Karen Jarrett. But for as good as Kim is and how much she’s accomplished in her short return to TNA, there are still a few other competitors in the Knockouts Division capable of giving her a run for her money.
Mickie James is one of those people and still possesses the ability to put on some of the best performances any female competitor can offer across all wrestling organizations. She’s taking a backseat now, but a showdown between those two was destined to take place much sooner than later. At Final Resolution, James will cash in the title shot she earned two weeks ago and face Kim for the Knockouts Championship in what is sure to be a solid match on that night’s card.
For this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling, James’ purpose was to try and hold onto that title shot by overcoming a hurdle thrown at her by Karen. While Karen was punishing the Knockouts that got on her bad side last week by making them wash cars in skimpy outfits, she also promised ODB No. 1 Contendership for the Knockouts Title if was able to go out there and hurt James in a Street Fight.
The stipulation favored ODB pretty heavily and she definitely looked more comfortable brawling than James did. But James was still rather aggressive and held her own well as they battled throughout IMPACT Zone.
When they got to the backstage area and started introducing weapons into the equation, ODB did gain the advantage. James got drilled with a trash can, lost a battle of cookie sheets and was sent crashing head-first into a wall. But she gutted through the pain and started to take control when the action moved into the ring.
After ODB slid a chair in and then moved to pick it up, James caught her with a quick rollup that only went to two. She followed up with several rights and, after taking a boot to the midsection, she came off with a couple of running closelines and a kick to ODB’s midsection for good measure. James hit the ropes and delivered a dropkick to ODB’s face for another cover that lasted to two. James was slightly frustrated at that point and made the mistake of waiting for ODB to get up before moving in for the jumping DDT. ODB reversed and tossed James across the ring with a fall away slam. But then ODB stalled and grabbed the steel chair in hopes of hitting James with it when she got back to her feet. Instead, James ducked the swing and hit a roundhouse kick right into the chair, which went into ODB’s face. James moved right into the cover from there and finally scored the three-count to keep her title shot for Final Resolution intact.
James was at a bit of a disadvantage in this one considering the stipulation. But she remained just as aggressive as ODB throughout the match and simply picked her spots better when the action moved into the ring. This is likely not the last hurdle Karen is going to throw James’ way before she faces Kim at the pay-per-view. But James appears ready to handle whatever comes her way and will take that same attitude into Final Resolution.
1. Devon and The Pope – for defeating Ink, Inc. and the former TNA World Tag Team Champions, Mexican America, to become No. 1 Contenders for those very titles:
Crimson and Matt Morgan have quickly developed into a dominant tag team in TNA and managed to secure the TNA World Tag Team Championships in their first crack at them. After defeating Mexican America two weeks ago to take the titles, they soundly defended them last week against the same duo. With the rematch out of the way, it was time to decide the next pairing that will face Crimson and Morgan for the straps.
That new No. 1 Contender would be decided on IMPACT Wrestling. A three-way tag team matchup was established to determine the next in line at the gold. Mexican America, Ink Inc., and the on-again, off-again combination of The Pope and Devon took part in this contest.
Devon and Pope were hot out of the gates and did a tremendous job clearing the ring of all four opponents to start the match. Even when the match organized itself, Pope still looked incredibly impressive by gaining the upperhand on Hernandez, Jesse Neal and Anarquia. That changed when he got a bit cocky and celebrated outside the ring. That’s when Hernandez drilled him with a closeline, and he would basically be on defense from there against Mexican America until getting out of a Border Toss to drop Hernandez with a closeline.
Pope was able to crawl his way over to Devon for the tag. Devon was on fire off the hot tag and took both Hernandez and Anarquia down before dropping both members of Ink, Inc. off the apron. Devon grabbed a near fall over Anarquia and tossed Hernandez off the top rope after taking a kick to the gut from him. Devon anxiously waited for them to return to their feet so he could hit a double closeline.
Neal made a tag and didn’t really think Devon knew it. So he charged in for a spear, and Devon managed to sidestep and direct him right into Hernandez in the corner. Devon put Neal down with a spinebuster right after and immediately covered for a successful three-count that makes Pope and him the challengers for the TNA World Tag Team Championships at Final Resolution.
They aren’t always on the same page when it comes to Devon’s family and values. But they looked solid in this three-way tag team match. They should have had the least amount of chemistry between the three teams. But they were the best of the bunch and earned a well-deserved victory as a result. They may not defeat Crimson and Morgan at the pay-per-view. But if they can bring the fight like they did Thursday night, Crimson and Morgan’s second title defense will be a heck of a lot harder than their first.